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Open Your Mind
The letter below was not written by me, as you will see, but I, along with many others, feel that it is a very important one. This letter paints an accurate picture of much of what's going on regarding shidduchim and why there are so many singles still looking. Maybe, if enough people see this, it will make more of an impression.
The wording and descriptions that people use in their resumes are analyzed, and ideas are vetoed even before checking things out. If there is a picture, the shidduch is often passed up because "it's not my look," without even giving it a first thought. Whether it is parents or mentors or singles themselves, a change in mindset from intolerant to tolerant and unrealistic to realistic is greatly needed.
It Took 6 Years for Me to Say Yes to Meeting My Bashert!
Interview with Dina
Written by Sholom & Sarah Leah Blatter
Edited by Rachel Segal
Growing up in a family of nine with several married siblings, I couldn't wait to start my own shidduch journey. But my journey was delayed until I was 25 years old, because I had an older, unmarried sister still in shidduchim and I was waiting for her to get married before I started.
To be honest, in those early years out of seminary, I was okay with being single. I kept busy, running programs as a madricha and counselor, going to shiurim, seizing chesed opportunities, and learning about marriage and parenting in anticipation of the next chapter.
They were years of spiritual and personal growth.
When I finally did start dating at 25, I felt ready. I had worked on developing myself and knew who I was.
I immediately got to work, doing my hishtadlus to show Hakadosh Boruch Hu I was certain that I was committed to finding my basherte:
I networked and met shadchanim in the US and in Israel, and dated bochurim in both countries.
I went to the Kosel and kevorim in Israel to daven.
I pushed myself to join a shidduch site, even though I felt a little uneasy about putting myself - and my photo - "out there." I was grateful that I did, as the networking and dating I did on that site ultimately motivated me to go out with my husband.
I wore out the pages in my siddur and joined Tehillim groups.
Although I went out, and went out some more, I couldn't find what I was looking for: someone I both respected and had chemistry with.
On top of that, I wanted my future husband to be a kind, worldly man who learned regularly but was a professional with some financial security and came from a similar type of family as mine.
Friends and shadchanim who redd him to me insisted that it could be a match, but I thought they were clueless.
I was certain Dovid was in a very particular box that couldn't possibly mesh with mine. There was nothing to talk about.
So, I kept searching... and the years passed.
When I turned 31, I reached a point where I was so determined to get married, I even considered adding a name to my own name, which some people struggling in shidduchim do as a segulah for marriage. Ultimately, I decided against it.
So, when a friend called me up to redd - you guessed it - Dovid, I finally relented.
“After all," I told myself, "what have you got to lose?”
I knew from my experience on the dating website I had joined how limited the pool of great guys was. If everyone kept insisting on how great Dovid was, it was time to see for myself.
Meeting Dovid changed everything. By the end of our first date, it was obvious: I had totally misread him.
While Dovid dressed differently and came from a different family background, he was the very definition of worldly. He was incredibly well read, articulate, had varied interests, followed the news, etc.
Clearly, Dovid didn't have a narrow, closed-minded worldview. I was the one who had been closed-minded.
More importantly, Dovid was a mentch who shared my core values.
I respected Dovid - and I liked him.
Though there was still more to learn about him, I felt comfortable enough to move forward.
We got engaged after six weeks of dating.
Having been married to Dovid for eight years now, I can tell you that he has surpassed every expectation. He is a fantastic human being.
Had I not finally listened to this idea that people had been redding me for six years, I never would have had the privilege of being his wife. He's my anchor, grounding me and always being there for me.
So, what's the takeaway here?
Don't be so quick to rule someone out based on an impression. Challenge yourself to be open-minded.
If a suggestion keeps coming up, consider the possibility that there may be something there worth exploring, even if you feel fairly certain that it's not for you.
Try to be open to the possibility that someone may be different than you perceive them to be.
Ask yourself: "How well do I really know this person?" Could you be misreading them? Maybe they aren't so different from what you've been searching for, after all.
And even if a person is a little different than you, those differences tend to matter very little if you discover that you share important values and have a meaningful connection.
I learned firsthand that sometimes the person you're absolutely certain isn't for you turns out to be exactly what you want and need in a spouse.
Had I not finally been open to meeting Dovid, I wouldn't have found my anchor. So, have a little courage and be open to a date. At worst, you'll part ways after a few hours. And at best, you'll find your basherte.
*Names have been changed for anonymity.
A Shadchan Who Cares (Excerpted from the Yated Ne’eman, February 15, 778, Maggid, pages 38-40).